The Internet Archive announced this week that it received a $1 million donation from the Knight Foundation to expand it’s TV News Search and Borrow archive of television news clips. As of now, the archive has just over 400,000 clips that the public can access, link to, or borrow a hard copy for a fee.

“We want to make all knowedge available to everyone, forever, and for free. So it’s an ambituous mission,” laughs Roger Macdonald, the archive’s television news project director. 

And it all comes down to closed captioning.

The San Francisco based non-profit records broadcasts, and teases out the news using closed captioning tags and other meta-data. Twenty-four hours after the first airing, the clip is available in the archive. It’s an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, and documentarians to study what was said, when, where, and in what context. Want to play John Stewart? Go ahead and search clips of ‘Benghazi’ on Fox last week. It can also be used for more noble causes, like tracking political speech. Read more